Boys Hockey: Red Lake Falls relies on special teams to defeat Park Rapids

The Eagles score 2 power-play goals and 2 shorthanded goals in a 7-4 Section 8A victory.

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RED LAKE FALLS – Red Lake Falls excelled on special teams with two power-play goals and a pair of shorthanded goals to spark a 7-4 Section 8A win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The Panthers claimed an early 2-0 lead behind goals by Joey Hillukka at the 4:29 mark and Kale Ravnaas at the 7:34 mark. Josh Hillukka and Talen May assisted on Ravnaas’ goal. A power-play goal by Evan Girdler at the 13:33 mark made it 2-1 after the first period as Park Rapids outshot the Eagles 15-9.

Park Rapids held a 19-13 edge in shots in the second period, but Red Lake Falls was able to tie the game at 4-4. Girdler completed his natural hat trick with two goals in the first 2:28 before Ravnaas and May set up Jeron Pinoniemi at the 9:20 mark. After Girdler scored a shorthanded goal at the 14:15 mark, Joey Hillukka assisted on a power-play goal by Pinoniemi with 56 seconds remaining to tie the game.

Red Lake Falls used a 17-16 advantage in shots in the third period to earn the win. Gavin Girdler’s shorthanded goal 3:47 into the period proved to be the game-winner. Jackson Hoefer followed with a power-play goal at the 11:20 mark before Brock Seeger concluded the scoring 40 seconds later.

Goalie Sawyer Torkelson finished with 32 saves as Park Rapids finished with a 50-39 edge in shots. The Panthers fell to 4-3-1 against section teams and 11-6-1 overall.


Pacey Struthers made 46 saves as Red Lake Falls avenged a 5-3 loss to the Panthers earlier this season to improve to 6-4 in section play and 11-7 overall.

Park Rapids 2 2 0…4

Red Lake Falls 1 3 3…7

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Joey Hillukka, 4:29. 2, Park Rapids, Ravnaas (Josh Hillukka, May), 7:34. 1, Red Lake Falls, E. Girdler (Seeger), 13:33. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, Red Lake Falls 0.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, Red Lake Falls, E. Girdler (Breiland), :45. 3, Red Lake Falls, E. Girdler (G. Girdler), 2:28. 3, Park Rapids, J. Pinoniemi (Ravnaas, May), 9:20. 4, Red Lake Falls, E. Girdler (G. Girdler), 14:15. 4, Park Rapids, J. Pinoniemi (Joey Hillukka), 16:04. Penalties: Park Rapids 0, Red Lake Falls 3.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, Red Lake Falls, G. Girdler (E. Girdler), 3:47. 6, Red Lake Falls, Hoefer (Breiland, G. Girdler), 11:20. 7, Red Lake Falls, Seeger, 12:00. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, Red Lake Falls 2.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Torkelson) 8-10-14–32. Red Lake Falls (Struthers) 13-17-16–46.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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